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Asia’s largest 4-metre liquid mirror telescope inaugurated in Uttarakhand

Asia's largest 4-metre liquid mirror telescope inaugurated in Uttarakhand_4.1

Liquid mirror telescope inaugurated in Uttarakhand

Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology, inaugurated Asia’s largest 4-metre International Liquid Mirror Telescope at Devasthal, Uttarakhand, in the presence of Lt. Gen (Retd.) Gurmeet Singh, the Governor of Uttarakhand.

The Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) has declared that the 4-meter International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) is operational and can now be used to observe the deep celestial sky. The telescope recorded its first light in the second week of May 2022 and is located on the Devasthal Observatory campus of ARIES in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. ARIES is an independent institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Indian Government, situated at an altitude of 2450 meters.

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Dr. Jitendra Singh has stated that the International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) project involves collaborations with researchers from various institutes including ARIES in India, the University of Liege and the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Belgium, Poznan Observatory in Poland, the Ulugh Beg Astronomical Institute of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and National University of Uzbekistan in Uzbekistan, and Canadian universities such as the University of British Columbia, Laval University, the University of Montreal, the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Victoria. The telescope was constructed by the Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems (AMOS) Corporation and the Centre Spatial de Liege in Belgium.

The liquid mirror telescope has three main parts:

  • A bowl that contains reflecting liquid metal (such as mercury), an air bearing or motor on which the liquid sits, and a drive system. By rotating the liquid metal, the surface naturally forms a parabolic shape which is ideal for focusing light.
  • A scientific grade thin transparent film of mylar protects the mercury from wind. The reflected light then passes through a sophisticated multi-lens optical corrector which produces clear images over a wide field of view. A 4k x 4k CCD camera, positioned above the mirror at the focus, records 22 arcminute wide strips of the sky.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Uttarakhand Founded: 9 November 2000;
  • Uttarakhand Chief minister: Pushkar Singh Dhami;
  • Uttarakhand Official tree: Rhododendron arboreum;
  • Uttarakhand Capitals: Dehradun (Winter), Gairsain (Summer).

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